Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls…

…because if you do, this might happen. Alright – let us explain. We planned our stay in Japan strategically so that we’d be in Kobe for Tyler‘s birthday. The celebration was supposed to consist something rather simple. At our first stop, Tyler introduced us to our first taste of Japan’s Ippudo, which was followed by a sake (sake!) tasting at a spot owned by one of Tyler’s students. The clock was slowly turning past midnight and Tyler’s last train was fast approaching. To prolong our merriment much longer, we bought some beers and carried on outside the station. Minutes ticked […]

Old Friends in New Places

We survived almost an entire week in Tokyo – navigating through the elaborate (and inexplicably clean) subway system, mastering the art of charade-like communication, and using our Google skills to satisfy our hunger pangs. However, we found so much comfort in some familiar faces – well, for Carmela at least. Izumi, Mami, and Yuki studied at the College of Saint Elizabeth with Carmela as part of the International Student Program. They now live and work in various areas of Tokyo and all came together for a mini-reunion to welcome us to their hometown. We met in front of the famous […]

So Many Uniqlos – So Little Luggage Space

“OMG there’s a Uniqlo!” one of us exclaims as we pass by it on the train. 5 minutes after walking from train station “OOHH! There’s another one!” Walk a couple more blocks “And ONE more!!” Our devotion to this store is serious and our desire to buy almost everything in sight in every color is intense. These emotions are even more heightened since there are countless items we’ve yet to see in the US, where there are only 2 locations compared to the roughly 700 in Japan. We are rarely this enthused about clothing stores. Uniqlo is the exception because […]


Most people associate Japan with sushi. As did we. But if there was one thing we were dying to try in Japan, it was the Okonomiyaki. We absolutely love this stuff thanks to Otafuku in NYC. We had to work for our first coveted taste of okonomiyaki at Sakuratei, a DIY spot where many local artists work. Bowls of the batter were dished out to us and the detailed illustrations saved us. Between reading the instructions and copying the locals, we were able to make some fine looking okonomiyaki, but there was one bowl that we ordered that didn’t look […]

Eight/Ate Takoyaki

This jawbreaker sized snack was almost always served in a cluster. They were baked balls of battered octopus cooked in a contraption (think cast iron egg crates), which preserves their cylindrical shape. Often, a chopstick was used to magically “flip” them over once the bottom halves have formed. Our ordering process usually went something like this: C&R: Takoyaki (holds up 8 fingers) Cook: (gestures to okonomi sauce) C&R: Hai! (yes) Cook: (gestures to seaweed flakes) C&R: Hai! Cook: (gestures to bonito flakes) C&R: Hai! Futatsu (two orders). Cook: Ehh? (incredulous onomotopoeia) C&R: Hai! 🙂 Our favorite spot was a stand […]